diesel boy wrote:Anything to see, or do around Wichita?While I am by no means an expert on the Wichita itself, I frequently railfan the area and lines through it. To sum the rail scene of the town itself in a nutshell: BNSF and Union Pacific are the major players, with shortline Kansas Southwestern to a much lesser extent. The BNSF's Arkansas City sub runs north-south through town, as does UP's line (I believe it is the Wichita sub) At a location called North Junction, located just north of where Central Avenue crosses the tracks, these two lines join. To the northeast is UP's Kline Yard, a nice place to check out from I-135. To the north about a mile is BNSF's yard alongside Broadway Ave. Also, the KSW line crosses here, coming out of Kline Yard. About two miles to the south is South Junction, where the BNSF and UP split. It is just south of the Kellogg Ave (Major Street) overpass.
UP runs about 4-8 trains through here per day, and there's always something happening at Kline. Kline is also a good place to find interesting power. You can see the engine facilities from I-135. UP also has trackage rights down BNSF's Arkansas City sub to the named town to access ex-MP trackage there. The local that runs down there can usually be caught returning to Wichita around mid-afternoon on the days it does run. I've had great luck catching it on Saturdays.
BNSF is a little tougher to fan, though it gets many more trains than UP. The reason being that most of the trains run at night, when the BNSF turns the Ark City sub and the laJunta sub into a second main for it's super busy transcon (more on it in a bit). During the day, traffic is sparse with just an occasional switch job, manifest for Newton, or a grain train. At about 6pm though, most eastbounds are routed from Mulvane through Wichita to Newton, then east to Ellinor and the transcon once more.
For the best train watching experiences for someone traveling to Wichita, I would recommend one of the following:
Travel about 20 miles east on US400 to Augusta KS. Located on the BNSF Transcon's junction with the Douglass sub to Winfield, Augusta sees about 60 trains a day. However, during daytime hours, pretty much all transcon traffic passes through, as well as all Texas traffic. You may see as many as 6 trains per hour here, though in the mid-afternoon, you could be in for some dry spells.
Travel about 15 miles SE of WIchita on K-15 to Mulvane. Mulvane is where the transcon crosses the Ark City sub. Mulvane has a very interesting and somewhat complicated track arrrangement to describe. The transcon itself bypasses town on a grade separated bypass. However, east of town at East Junction, ironically enough, a track splits of and connects with the Ark City sub in the northern part of Mulvane. They then run together into town and split again. The Ark City sub heads SE to Winfield, where it joins the Douglass sub, and a track rises up to join the transcon at West Junction. Poking around town will lead you to the restored station, where you can watch any train which heads through the town trackage. However, most don't, unless it's 6pm or later, when you'll start getting most of the eastbounds through town! A better location is a grade crossing west of Wedst Junction. From the station, find K-53 and go west, crossing the Arkansas River. Turn south on the first decent looking dirt road (it's Oliver Road and 1 mile west of the river) go about 2 miles south, and turn east on another decent looking dirt road (130th Ave) and go to the tracks. I listed the road names, but I'm not sure there's signs so I'd depend on the distances.
I know that's a lot, but hopefully it helps. Good luck on your trip to Wichita, db.